More than 1,000 DOJ Alumni Urge Flynn Prosecution to Go On
Friday, May 22, 2020
SEATTLE - Former federal prosecutors are asking a judge to reject the Justice Department's request to drop its years-long case against former national security advisor Michael Flynn.
More than a thousand DOJ alumni filed a friend-of-the-court brief, urging U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan to reject Attorney General William Barr's application to drop Flynn's prosecution. One person who signed that brief is Jeffery Coopersmith, a Seattle trial lawyer and former assistant U.S. Attorney in the Western District of Washington.
He believes political interference is playing a role.
"We can't really have a system where friends of the administration are given lenient treatment," says Coopersmith, "whereas other defendants aren't."
Flynn pleaded guilty to lying in a 2017 FBI interview during Robert Mueller's Russia investigation. The Justice Department has said Flynn should not have been interviewed by the FBI during that probe, making his statements immaterial and concluding that Judge Sullivan should throw the case out.
In the brief, the former federal prosecutors say Sullivan has a duty to scrutinize the DOJ's motion to ensure that it's in the public interest. Kristy Parker, on the team of attorneys who filed the brief, is with the group Protect Democracy and worked at the Justice Department for 19 years.
She says Barr's decision damages the credibility of the institution.
"When DOJ alums see a prosecution of an individual who has plead guilty twice, admitted under oath twice that he lied to the FBI during an interview that they had jurisdiction to conduct, it's very clear to everyone that something is wrong here," says Parker.
Coopersmith adds the goal of the Justice Department is to act impartially.
"I think there's been a tradition, especially since Watergate, of an independent Department of Justice that isn't swayed by politics," says Coopersmith.
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